New Zealand women's national rugby union team
|Union||New Zealand Rugby|
|Head coach||Wayne Smith|
|Most caps||Kendra Cocksedge (60)|
|Top scorer||Kendra Cocksedge (355)|
|World Rugby ranking|
|Current||2 (as of 11 July 2022)|
|Highest||1 (2003-2012, 2013-2020)|
|Lowest||2 (2012, 2020)|
| New Zealand 56 – 0 Netherlands |
(Christchurch, New Zealand; 26 August 1990)
| New Zealand 134 – 6 Germany |
(Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2 May 1998)
| England 56 – 15 New Zealand |
(Northampton, England; 7 November 2021)
|Appearances||7 (First in 1991)|
|Best result||Champions 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2017|
|Top 20 rankings as of 15 August 2022|
|*Change from the previous week|
The New Zealand national women's rugby union team, called the Black Ferns, represents New Zealand in women's rugby union, which is regarded as the country's national sport. The team has won five of the past six Women's Rugby World Cups.
They have an 83.96% winning record in test match rugby, and are the only women's international side with a winning record against every opponent. Since their proper international debut in 1991, the Black Ferns have lost to only four of the 16 nations they have played in test matches.[a] They have never been ranked lower than second in the World Rankings since its introduction in 2003. The team performs a haka before every match; this is a Māori challenge or posture dance. Traditionally the Black Ferns use the haka Ko Uhia Mai until the present year.
The team's nickname combines the colour black and the silver fern, which are iconic New Zealand sporting symbols. For example, the All Blacks is New Zealand's famous men's rugby team, the Black Caps is the men's cricket team, the White Ferns is the women's cricket team, while the Silver Ferns is the national women's netball team.
Starting with the inaugural International Rugby Board (IRB)-sponsored Cup in 1998, the Black Ferns won four consecutive World Cups, including the 2002 World Cup in Barcelona, the 2006 World Cup in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and the 2010 World Cup in London, England. Most recently, the Black Ferns have won their 5th World Cup, beating the English team in Belfast on 27 August 2017.
The Black Ferns have participated in most WRWC events since its inauguration in 1991, only missing the 1994 championship in Scotland. They also won the Canada Cup in 1996, 2000, and 2005, and the Churchill Cup in 2004.
Farah Palmer was captain of the Ferns from 1997 to 2005, when she lost her captaincy due to a shoulder injury. That year, she was honoured as International Women's (Rugby) Personality of the Year at the IRB Awards. For the 5th Women's Rugby World Cup in Canada, Palmer fought her way back into the team and again led the it to World Cup victory. After the win, Palmer announced her retirement from the Black Ferns in September 2006.
From 2002 until their last game of 2009, the Black Ferns enjoyed a streak of 24 consecutive test match wins spanning almost 9 years.
While rugby is the most popular spectator game in New Zealand, the Black Ferns have suffered in the past from similar problems to any women's sport: under-funding, lack of support and lack of publicity. The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) and IRB have been criticised for not doing more to promote women's rugby, although support is beginning to improve in those organisations, in large part due to the Ferns' successes. The NZRU started funding the Black Ferns in 1995, thus giving a great boost to their game. Accordingly, the Black Ferns have benefitted from being included in NZRU High Performance initiatives. Along with professional coaches the team has had access to professional development resources such as analysis. In more recent times, the team's profile has risen greatly at a grassroots level, due in great part to their string of successes, and it is increasingly seen to be a national team on the same basis as any other.
In January 2010, the Women's Provincial Championship (WPC) came under severe threat after the NZRU announced that the championship series would have to go due to budget cuts. As the championship was a prime builder of training, skill and competition for New Zealand women's rugby, the decision was a shock for players and supporters, including former captain Farah Palmer (especially since it was a World Cup year). NZRU said women's domestic rugby was one of many victims of the tight financial times. They faced a barrage of criticism for their decision, and eventually reinstated the WPC after the Black Ferns won the 2010 World Cup.
The WPC was renamed the Farah Palmer Cup in 2016, in honour of the influential former captain.
In 2018, after the success of New Zealand women's national rugby sevens team, all Sevens and Black Ferns players have been offered semi-professional contracts. They also played the first Test series against Australian Walleroos, which was played on the same night as the Men's Bledisloe Cup Tests.
The 2018 season finished with a 1–1 drawn series against France, with France becoming only the fourth team in the world to beat the Black Ferns. The Black Ferns' loss in the final game of the year ended a 17-month long winning streak and was also the final game for captain Fa’amausili, who retired from international rugby.
In 2019, the Black Ferns won the annual Women's Rugby Super Series for the second time.
The Black Ferns perform a haka (a Māori challenge) before every international match. Until the present year, the Black Ferns performed the haka Ko Uhia Mai, specially composed by the respected Māori rugby leader, Te Whetū Tipiwai.
The first four games listed below – played at RugbyFest 1990 – are not generally accepted as being internationals by New Zealand authorities. However, in men's rugby it is general practice to award full international status to any games where ONE side considers a game to be an international. As a result all games in that tournament have been treated as full internationals in this article.
(Full internationals only; updated 19 June 2022)
Rugby World Cup
|Rugby World Cup|
|1994||Did not participate due to late tournament cancellation|
New Zealand have won the World Cup five times. They defeated the United States in the final of the 1998 World Cup held in the Netherlands to claim their maiden title. They followed this up with three more consecutive titles, overcoming England in the final of the next three editions; 2002, 2006 and 2010, as well as in their fifth world title in 2017. They lost to eventual winners the United States in the semi-final of the inaugural competition held in Wales in 1991, but were absent from the following tournament in 1994 Women's Rugby World Cup, due to the late cancellation of the event. In 2014 Women's Rugby World Cup, they lost a pool game to Ireland, while the top two teams in another pool drew their match. This saw them miss out on the semi-finals by a single table point, before going on to heavily defeat Wales and the United States to finish the tournament in fifth.
|Luka Connor||Hooker||25||Chiefs||Bay of Plenty||6|
|Natalie Delamere||Hooker||25||Matatū||Bay of Plenty||1|
|Awhina Tangen-Wainohu||Prop||24||Chiefs||Waikato||new cap|
|Santo Taumata||Prop||19||Chiefs||Bay of Plenty||new cap|
|Alana Bremner||Loose Forward||25||Matatū||Canterbury||6|
|Tafito Lafaele||Loose Forward||21||Blues||Auckland||2|
|Charmaine McMenamin||Loose Forward||32||Blues||Auckland||25|
|Kaipo Olsen-Baker||Loose Forward||19||Hurricanes||Manawatu||2|
|Kendra Reynolds||Loose Forward||29||Matatū||Bay of Plenty||3|
|Kennedy Simon||Loose Forward||25||Chiefs||Waikato||8|
|Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu||Halfback||30||Chiefs||Counties Manukau||8|
|Sylvia Brunt||Inside Back||18||–||Auckland||2|
|Ruahei Demant||Inside Back||27||Blues||Auckland||15|
|Amy du Plessis||Inside Back||23||Matatū||Canterbury||2|
|Theresa Fitzpatrick||Inside Back||27||Blues||Auckland||11|
|Chelsea Semple||Inside Back||29||Chiefs||Waikato||28|
|Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali||Inside Back||30||–||Otago||19|
|Hazel Tubic||Inside Back||31||Chiefs||Counties Manukau||14|
|Renee Holmes||Outside Back||22||Matatū||Waikato||3|
|Ayesha Leti-I'iga||Outside Back||23||Hurricanes||Wellington||15|
|Tyla Nathan-Wong||Outside Back||28||Blues||Northland||new cap|
|Grace Steinmetz||Outside Back||24||Matatū||Canterbury||0|
|Ruby Tui||Outside Back||30||Chiefs||Counties Manukau||2|
Farah Palmer won three Women's Rugby World Cups, in 1998, 2002 and 2006. During her captaincy from 1997 to 2006, the Black Ferns have lost only once. Palmer made her international debut against Australia in August 1996. She has earned 35 caps, making her the fifth-most capped Black Ferns player. Palmer was awarded the IRB International Women's Personality of the Year in 2005. The national provincial women's competition in New Zealand is named in her honour in recognition of her contribution to the game. She was inducted into World Rugby's Hall of Fame in October 2014.
Anna Richards was inducted into World Rugby's Hall of Fame in October 2014 along with Farah Palmer. She has won 49 caps for the Black Ferns in a career that has spanned two decades, from 1990 to 2010. She played in the inaugural 1991 World Cup when New Zealand lost in the semi-finals. Richards is also a four-time Women's Rugby World Cup winner – 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010, she played in every final.
Huriana Manuel-Carpenter represented New Zealand in both sevens and 15s. In 2013, she captained the Black Ferns sevens side when they won the inaugural Women's Sevens Series title and the Sevens World Cup. She was also captain when the side successfully defended the series title in 2014. She won a silver medal at the Rio Olympic Games. Manuel-Carpenter is also a two-time Rugby World Cup winner – 2006 and 2010. Between 2005 and 2014 she scored 15 tries from 25 test appearances. She is part of the first mother and daughter duo to have played for the Black Ferns. She was inducted into World Rugby's Hall of Fame in October 2021.
All head coaches of the Black Ferns (1990–Present). Every Black Fern coach has been a New Zealander.
|Brian Evans||2009–2010, 2012–2014||20||18||2||0||90%|
- List of women's international rugby union test matches – the most complete listing of all women's international results since 1982.
- Curtin, Jennifer (2016). "Before the 'Black Ferns': Tracing the Beginnings of Women's Rugby in New Zealand". The International Journal of the History of Sport. 33 (17): 2071–2085. doi:10.1080/09523367.2017.1329201. S2CID 148962837.
- They are England, France, Ireland and United States.
- "Women's World Rankings". World Rugby. Retrieved 15 August 2022.
- "Sport, Fitness and Leisure". New Zealand Official Yearbook. Statistics New Zealand. 2000. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 21 July 2008.
Traditionally New Zealanders have excelled in rugby union, which is regarded as the national sport, and track and field athletics.
- rugbybworldcup.com. "Womens Rugby World Cup 2017". www.rwcwomens.com.
- "Farah Palmer announces retirement". Archived from the original on 28 October 2006. Retrieved 2 December 2006.
- Cleaver, Dylan (23 January 2010). "Rugby: NZRU plan 'will kill women's rugby'". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- "Black Ferns fall to France in second test". Newshub. 18 November 2018. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
- "New Zealand to host 2021 Women's World Cup". The New Zealand Herald. 15 November 2018. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
- "Black Ferns set to play historic 100th Test match". allblacks.com. 30 September 2021. Retrieved 11 July 2022.
- Pearson, Joseph (31 October 2021). "Milestone match ends with heaviest defeat in history as Black Ferns lose 100th test against England". Stuff. Retrieved 11 July 2022.
- "Black Ferns win Pacific Four". Otago Daily Times Online News. 18 June 2022. Retrieved 18 June 2022.
- "New Zealand win the Pacific Four Series 2022". www.world.rugby. 18 June 2022. Retrieved 18 June 2022.
- "Women's Rugby World Cup: Ireland stun New Zealand". BBC. 5 August 2014.
- "Black Ferns named for O'Reilly Cup Test series". allblacks.com. 2 August 2022. Retrieved 8 August 2022.
- Hepburn, Steve (19 November 2014). "Rugby: Palmer enters IRB hall of fame". Otago Daily Times Online News. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
- "Black Ferns great inducted into World Rugby Hall of Fame". NZ Herald. 28 October 2021. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
- "Palmer leads by example in New Zealand". www.world.rugby. 19 May 2020. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
- "About the Farah Palmer Cup". Provincial Rugby. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
- "Farah Palmer - World Rugby - Hall of Fame". www.world.rugby. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
- Piddington, Stu (18 November 2014). "Anna Richards inducted to IRB's Hall of Fame". Stuff. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
- "Anna Richards: "I don't want to put a limit, you've got to dream"". www.world.rugby. 7 June 2019. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
- "Hall of Fame award a boost for women's rugby, says Anna Richards". South China Morning Post. 17 November 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
- "Huriana Manuel-Carpenter inducted into World Rugby Hall of Fame". RNZ. 28 October 2021. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
- "Multi World Cup winner Huriana Manuel-Carpenter inducted into World Rugby Hall of Fame". Stuff. 28 October 2021. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
- "Huriana Manuel-Carpenter to be inducted into World Rugby Hall of Fame". allblacks.com. 28 October 2021. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
- "Huriana Manuel-Carpenter - World Rugby - Hall of Fame". www.world.rugby. Retrieved 24 June 2022.